It’s going to happen. Writer’s block is inevitable. You might come bursting out of the gates with a flurry of activity when you first start your blog, but eventually you’ll start to feel like you’ve run out of ideas. That’s perfectly normal and we all go through it. Or maybe you have an inkling of idea, but you’re not really sure how to flesh it out into a full blog post. That’s pretty typical too. We’ve all been there.
This is part and parcel with the world of blogging, even if you’ve carefully decided on how narrow or wide your niche should be. And if you’ve reached this point in your blogging career, you may have started Googling ways to overcome writer’s block too. Again, that’s hardly out of the ordinary.
As you stare at a blank screen with the hope and prayer that some truly amazing content — remember that content is king (but it’s not enough on its own) — is suddenly going to come gushing out from those fingers, through the keyboard, and onto the screen, you may want to avoid these four common pitfalls.
1. Browse Social Media
I know what you’re thinking, because I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else. You’re sitting at your computer, struggling to come up with a great idea to blog about. Your browser window is already open and, almost out of reflex, you make your way over to Facebook or Twitter or YouTube or any number of other bottomless pits of user-generated content on the Internet.
Part of it has to do with our addiction to social media, to be sure, but there’s also an element of false hope there. The wishful thinking goes that I’m skimming my way through Twitter looking for potential blog post ideas. I’m watching a video tutorial, because it might lead to a blog post I could write. I get it. I’ve been there.
But what actually ends up happening? You can pulled down a rabbit hole of Marvel Cinematic Universe fan theories, or you fall into a toxic discussion about controversial politics on Facebook. Next thing you know, it’s several hours later and you still don’t have a blog post. Just don’t do it.
2. Play Video Games
There is a theory in psychology and neuroscience that says some of the most creative ideas will come to you when you’re not actively thinking about them. These sort of “eureka” moments come about as your brain works on problems in the background, all while you’re focusing on something else entirely. That’s why it can be helpful to go for a walk or have a snack if you’re struggling with creative endeavors.
I’ve been playing video games almost my whole life, starting out with the old Atari way back in the mid-1980s. Video games are engaging and rewarding and entertaining. And while you might think that this is a good excuse to activate that “background creativity,” it’s really not.
Your consciousness becomes so engulfed in the world of the game you’re playing, and in the end, nothing will get done. Play games when it’s time to play games, not when you should be blogging.
3. Wait for Inspiration
It’s a total myth. Or rather, it’s a very common misconception. People seem to think that writing freely is the default expectation, and hitting the challenges of writer’s block is the exception. That’s the obstacle that pops up “sometimes” and you just have to wait it out until it’s gone.
The truth is closer to the complete opposite. More often than not, you’re going to sit down with nothing (or very little) to say. It’s not like you have a bottomless well of creativity, just waiting to be tapped. Instead, it’s more like you’ve got to keep filling up that well yourself.
You cannot simply wait around for inspiration to strike, because your muse may never come. At the very least, you’ve got to be willing to meet her halfway.
4. Give Up
This is perhaps the most important thing for you to avoid doing when you encounter writer’s block. Don’t give up. It is completely unreasonable to expect that you’ll be an overnight success, and it’s completely unreasonable to think that you’ll always have something amazing to blog about. Just stick with it, change up the routine now and then, and find a new way. It’s not how many times you get knocked down; it’s how many times you get back up and keep typing.